Goolsby, on his blog, said the intent is not to throw bureaucrats in jail but to remind them in no uncertain terms that records are presumed open and should be released upon request.
"Only an extremely dim-witted bureaucrat or politician will refuse to give out a government record or close a meeting, unless they are told to do so by their lawyer," the Wilmington Republican said.
The bill is currently sitting in the Senate's Judiciary Committee. Should it pass, North Carolina would become the 16th state to implement a penalty for failing to fill an open record's request. Utah is one of those states, making it a class B misdemeanor to deny a records request under the Government Records Access and Management Act.
But don't expect to see pictures of bureaucrats who have denied government records requests on you local mug-shot website. Paul Murphy, the Utah Attorney General's spokesman, said his office could not find any record of anyone being convicted under the statute.
A check of court records dating back to 1997 did not show any GRAMA-related convictions.
Linda Petersen, president of the Utah Foundation for Open Government, said the most egregious violations of GRAMA should be prosecuted, but she said it is hard to say whether the criminal penalty would be enough to convince agencies to release records.